Hideous Spectre: The Past, Present, and Future of Confederate Monuments

This is a past event.

Some people risk imprisonment to tear down long-ignored hunks of marble; others form armed patrols to defend them. Why do we care so much about statues? Which ones should stay up and which should come down? Who should make these decisions, and how? Erin L. Thompson, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Music and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at The City University of New York (CUNY), will explore these questions and others during a presentation entitled “Hideous Spectre: The Past, Present, and Future of Confederate Monuments.”  

Thompson, a leading expert in the tangled aesthetic, legal, political, and social issues involved in such battles, brought much-needed clarity to these questions in her new book, Smashing Statues: On the Rise and Fall of American Public Monuments (Norton, 2022). She lays bare the turbulent history of American monuments and its abundant ironies, including by diving into both the history of the creation of Birmingham’s Confederate monument amidst labor unrest and its removal during a fractious public debate about monuments. Thompson’s work gives audiences the context they need to consider the fundamental questions for rebuilding not only our public landscape but our nation as a whole: Whose voices must be heard, and whose pain must remain private? 

Tuesday, April 5 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts
1221 10th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations



Target Audience

Current Students, Faculty & Staff, General Public


civil discourse



Department of Anthropology, Department of Art & Art History, Institute for Human Rights
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